Why Does My Collar Bone Hurt When I Run?

Collarbone pain can be unbearable and something you may need to have checked out by your doctor. If you have a past injury like I do it may just be some normal pain and aches unfortunately. I was 18 when I first dislocated my collarbone during a flag football game over the summer. The pain was terrible and it took weeks to heal and basically ruined my entire summer. Luckily it did heal in time for our first day of football camp, but simply running was not fun because of it.

So why does my collarbone hurt when I run?

Most people that have collarbone pain have it in the first mile they are running then it goes away. If this is the case it is probably due to your phrenic nerve which connects to the diaphragm. It more or less breaks down to your increased rate of breathing that causes this and as your body adjusts it is fine. This is somewhere where we tell people to focus on nose breathing. 

When you breath through your mouth it doesn't deliver as much oxygen (surprising I know) and it is rougher at getting it to your lungs. The nose actually filters the air and sends it more smoothly to your lungs. The best thing you can do is check out a book called Breath: The New Science Of A Lost Art HERE. Below we also aske other runners with collarbone pain to give us their input as to why it happens we ended up getting some great information back. 

You can find some of the best nose breathing aids and get them shipped to your door in as little as two days by clicking HERE!

Here are some other products you can find on Amazon that will help as well: 

girl holding collarbone running

Collarbone Pain While Running

So we didn't want you to only take our word for it on this as there could be something else wrong. If you have a past collarbone injury it is probably from that or it could be the way your air is getting to your lungs roughly. We scoured the internet for other runners like yourself as to why they were getting collarbone pains or why they think people do and these are the results. This was curated so nothing has been changed except any spelling or grammar that needed to be. We also got this information from different running forums, websites and running sub reddits.

Real Runners

1. Shampine “Never found out what it was” – Same issue, only happens sometimes and only on the right side. Never found a fix or a cause. Just kept on running. I am thinking about doing more arm stretches, not sure if that is the fix.

It also mitigates itself once I'm done running, I never feel any ill effects post run.

2. JmRun “Posture” – Similar issue, though it started last April when I ran 15 miles for the first time in my life. Pain got pretty bad during some runs, then subsided about 2 months later, although as soon as I stopped running the pain would immediately stop. Still happens about once or twice a month, but it seems to really be related to posture.

3. Brichals “Nerves” – I think it's something with the nerves that run through your shoulder blade and it's also related to the side stitch. There are nerves like the vagus nerve which control your breathing and heart rate etc. I think the pain originates from these (side stitch also). It's also why you get shoulder pain when you have a heart attack, but I don't think you are having a heart attack.

4. Joker370 “Only happens on long runs” – I get this on runs over about 15-20k, only on my right side and it's really annoying – I'm pretty confident that my entire upper body's relaxed, but clearly I must be wrong 🙁

5. Runner50324 “Mine pops” – Mine pops continuously which causes some discomfort, but that could be due to the car that hit me in February…

6. Copier1776 “Arms to stiff” – Sometimes this happens to me when I run, like a stiffness in the shoulder. I don't know what it is, but I know it happens to me when I keep my arms too stiff while running, which I don't notice I do sometimes.

7. MannyEManny “Shoulders to stiff” – You could be keeping your shoulders tense. Try to relax your shoulders. Monitor your arm position, try to keep your fore arms around the height of the bottom of your rib cage. Thats all I got.

8. Gemthing “Lung issues” – Is it right behind the top of your collarbone, almost near the outside end? I get this occasionally. For some reason, I think this is where the top of my lungs attach, so I've always thought of it as kind of a stitch like you normally get in your side.

9. HGPennyPacker “Stretch out arm” – I don't think it is a fitness issue, I cover about 50 miles a week and get this from time to time, seemingly for no good reason; long runs, short runs, fast runs, slow runs, doesn't seem to matter. I find that stretching out the arm of whichever collar bone helps, but it often seems to go away on its own.

10. LandaBot “Bone Spurs” – Please pay attention to your body while running. If it feels like bone against bone, it's possible you may be developing bone spurs. Try and correct your posture per everyone else's advice, but if it persists, GO TO A DOCTOR.

For the past 6 months or so, I've been experiencing shoulder pain while running, after about 20 minutes or so. I tried correcting my posture, massages, taking time off, but nothing helped. I just got around to checking it out with a chiropractor, who ordered an MRI.

The MRI showed that I have a partial rotator cuff tear, bone spurs and bursitis. No bueno. I wasn't even in excruciating pain, but now I'm so mad at myself; had I just listened to my body and gotten checked out sooner, my injuries probably wouldn't have been so extensive.


The opinions were all over the place which is why we tried to put one of each on here. So the list of probably causes:

  • Bad Posture 
  • Nerves (Breathing, diaphragm)
  • Arms To Stiff 
  • Shoulders To Stiff
  • Bone Spurs 

Where To Go From Here?

First place to start will probably still be your doctor to rule out anything else like bone spurs. From there stretching your arms and shoulders before you run would be a good place to hopefully make some progress to a pain free run.

Also pay attention while you are running to your arm and shoulder stiffness stay as loose as possible throughout your runs.

Work on your nose breathing. A lot of people will question this, but the science is there and I highly suggest if you wanted to take your fitness and health to the next level start with your breathing it will take you too the top and much further.

Also if you are cross training and doing some lifting maybe cut back on that for a bit as well.


Tab Winner

We are fun loving family that lives on a small farm and tries to be healthy. We are not fitness fanatics we are just trying to keep things simple especially with how busy our lives are. We have a few horses, a few dogs, and a young daughter along with a big extended family. Follow us on our journey. I hope you enjoy the website. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Please check back for updates!

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